There are many tips out there on how to have beautiful and healthy hair. Though such advice is great and prove to be very useful, I find it hard to get information specifically geared to caring for my African American hair. Our hair is very unique, coming in all types of lengths and textures. Our hair is also very prone to being over-stressed, over-styled and over processed. Therefore, we need help to keep, maintain, or even restore our strong and healthy hair. After taking care of my hair for years, (with a lot of bumps and hard lessons along the way), these are tips and advice that I picked up along the way.
- Weekly Washing! – Because our hair has a natural tendency to be dry, you should only wash your hair once a week (two at most). We want to keep the moisture in, not let it out everyday!
- Conditioner is Your Best Friend – I cannot stress this enough (and this goes double for those of us who relax our hair). Conditioning our hair and restoring its moisture is so important. Make sure you make it a point to get products that have pack a lot of conditioning power. You can use moisturizing shampoos along with conditioner (such as Motion’s conditioning shampoo that I use religiously) or deep conditioners that require sitting under a hood dryer for 10 to 15 minutes. I’ve been using Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayo to help strengthen and soften my hair and it works wonders!
- Easy with the Products – Because we only wash our hair once to twice a week, we need to be careful not to overload our hair with too many products. Petroleum based products can clog hair pores, attract more dirt, and leave hair heavy and greasy if used in excess.
- Maintain that scalp! – Otherwise known as “greasing” your scalp, keeping the scalp moisturized is essential in keeping our hair from drying out. Keeping the previous tip in mind, once a week I apply my hairdress of choice right after I wash and dry my hair using just enough to cover the scalp. To make sure the rest of the hair doesn’t get left out, I comb my hair afterwards, which distributes the product to the rest of my hair.
- Don’t Relax Too Often! – For those who relax our hair regularly, we know that putting our hair through this chemical process further weakens, damages, and dries our already fragile hair. So to help minimize the damage, wait in between touch ups. The normal time is 6 to 8 weeks, but if you can hold out a little bit longer please do (I usually touch-up my hair every 12 weeks). Also, if you relax your hair at home, only touch up the roots.
Beat the Heat! – Try not to flat iron or hot curl your hair too often. Our hair is weak enough as it is and too much heat creates more damage. Want your hair to be straight all the time? Try wrapping your hair, whether it’s a wet wrap and wrapping your hair up at night in a silk scarf before bed. Want bouncy curls? Try a roller set.
- Relax First, Color Later – If you are contemplating coloring or highlighting your relaxed tresses, I suggest you relax your hair first and wait a few weeks before attempting to color it. Just remember, you’re putting your hair through two very different but equally strong chemical processes. With that in mind, if you decide to it , it’s even more important to deep condition, use heat styling tools in moderation, and wait in between touch ups.
What do you do keep your hair looking beautiful? What tips do you have when it comes to taking care of our hair?
Be Beautiful Ladies!
Photos Courtesy of: dherbs.com, photos.essence.com, lifestyle.msn.com